Archive for the ‘Social Studies 10’ Category

Afghanistan has the 11th lowest life expectancy in the world, the lowest HDI in Asia, and an absolute poverty rate of 50%.  It’s not surprising that this country is suffering, their history has been stained by endless war beginning in the 1970’s after a very brief period of peace in the 1960’s.  The primary export of Afghanistan is opium, and sadly in today’s climate of security, dealing massive amounts of drugs on an international level is fairly difficult.  Because of the legal issues with their primary export, they have to use wheat as their secondary export.  With agricultural superpowers like Ukraine and India nearby, the demand for Afghan wheat is quite low.

Using the helpful tool Gapminder I was able to track the GDP rise of Afghanistan over a long period of time.  Interestingly, the years in which Afghanistan’s economy grew the most were the years under the control of the USSR and later under the USA.  Although towards the end of the USSR’s reign over Afghanistan, the descent in their GDP per capita began.  After several years of violence, the instability of the nation reduced the GDP per capita to its all time low in 1994.  In 1996, the Taliban gained control of the country and provided stability.  This stability didn’t come free however.  The Taliban were the most brutal and oppressive regime to ever gain power in Afghanistan.  Led by Mullah Omar, the Taliban imposed strict, occasionally nonsensical rules that caused many people to be tragically executed.  The Taliban took a large chunk out of Afghanistan’s workforce by preventing women from holding jobs.  The people of Afghanistan suffered an economy that was worse than what experts have guessed medieval England was like.  In 2001, a breath of fresh air came in the form of mortars and air strikes.  The American invasion resulted in the toppling of the oppressive regime.  America brought democracy and capitalism to Afghanistan.  Afghanistan began a rapid ascent to their current status.  They are still suffering from one of the worst economies in the world, but the economy has been growing steadily since the American invasion.  Unfortunately, the nation still has 50% of it’s people living in absolute poverty.  There are 2 million Afghans who do not have a steady supply to food, and struggle just to survive.  This is a horrifying number.  The UN and the USA both send massive amounts of food aid to help the starving in Afghanistan.  President Karzai issued a speech earlier this month begging the American military to stay in Afghanistan because of the irreplaceable help the United States has given to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan under Karzai and the United States has made greater strides in poverty prevention than has ever been experienced in Afghanistan.  The primary American method is to instate capitalism and pour billions of dollars of aid into the economy.  The USA has pledged $10.4 billion of aid to Afghanistan for development.

The United States also opened up the Afghan Reconstruction Fund, with $50 billion.  This fund holds money from all across the world for the sole purpose of recovering from constant warfare.  The previous governments anti-poverty plan was quite unsuccessful.  The Taliban would slaughter people and burn down their workplaces.  It would outlaw many products that Afghanistan used to use to get even a bit of money.  It would seem that the Taliban’s economic policies had no poverty prevention at all.  Through the aid of the United States and capitalism, Afghanistan’s population living under absolute poverty has gone down from 80% to 50%.  Hopefully the remnants of the Taliban will see that the Afghan people are better off with freedom, and will allow this positive trend to continue and lessen the unnecessary bloodshed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References –

Afghanistan. (n.d.). Afghanistan. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Afghanistan

Taliban. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban

USAID/Afghanistan. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://afghanistan.usaid.gov/en/home

 

Coastal Inquiry

Posted: May 31, 2011 in Social Studies 10

 

 

 

Image A:
Ghaza Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image B:

Gaza Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Describe the costal management strategies used in Gaza Beach.

 

In Gaza Beach, I have identified sea walls and rock armor.  The sea walls can be seen heavily in Image A, as they are built around a bay to protect the ships and the shipping.  We can see a fleet of ships within the square shaped sea wall structure, separating the beach from the Mediterranean Sea.  Sea walls are large walls, identifiable by their clearly artificial shape.  They protect the coast from the forces of the water by providing a buffer between the waves and the area needing protection.  In Image B, there is some rock armor at the edge.  The rock armor is protecting the coast directly from the waves and the tide.  The rock armor is located just at the edge although, it has been slightly damaged by the bombing the Israeli army conducted.  Rock armor works just like regular armor, by forming a protective layer.  The waves are knocked back into the sea before they can reach the area behind the rock armor.  Rock armor also protects against erosion.  Since Gaza Beach is situated in an already miniscule nation, it is essential that the beach doesn’t erode quickly.

 

Explore how Gaza Beach’s coastal management strategies protect the coastal importance.

 

As seen in Image A, Gaza Beach is a very important location for trade.  It is a vivacious trade route between Europe and the Middle East.  This is because of its important location.  Gaza Strip is located immediately adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea and connects it to the deserts of the Middle East.  It’s one of the only viable options for Middle Eastern nations that don’t have access to the Suez Canal.  As a result of this, it is imperative that the beach’s remain protected.  By building sea walls around the important shipping locations they can maintain a degree of safety for the merchandise being traded.  The rock armor being used in Gaza Beach isn’t as helpful for protecting trade, but it does protect the thousands of residents of Gaza Strip.  After the 1967 war, the Israeli’s kicked a lot of the Muslims out of the country, and they fled to Gaza Strip and West Bank.  To protect the people and the trade, these examples of hard engineering are necessary.

 

Demonstrate the effectiveness of Gaza Beach’s coastal management efforts.

 

Gaza Beach’s coastal management efforts are opposed by both the sea and the high levels of terrorism and warfare that occurs in Palestine.  The Mediterranean Sea is not a sea that is noted for its destructive power, as it has been the home to many ancient civilizations.  The sea does, however, swell up during storms and creates a degree of destruction.  These storms that Gaza Beach must defend against range from weak to medium strength, and are generally defended against successfully.  The only storms that Gaza has troubles defending against are the “storms” created by the Israeli army.  The Israelites and Palestinians hold huge amounts of animosity towards each other, and as a result, Palestine has become something of a battleground between Israel’s Mossad and Palestine’s Hamas.  Despite all of Gaza Strip’s efforts to protect trade by building sea walls, these have proven ineffective, as Israel sometimes attacks.  Israel’s attacks do not come unprovoked.  Since Gaza Strip’s government is an internationally recognized terrorist group, they do sometimes attack both Israel, and themselves.  Terrorists have a technique that has been proven rather unsuccessful called suicide bombing.  Suicide bombing involves blowing yourself up to kill other people.  Many times the terrorists will engage in suicide bombings in Gaza Beach, thus further reducing the effectiveness the coastal management efforts have had on protecting the coastal importance.  In 2006, there was a well documented scuffle on the beach between the civilians of Gaza Strip and Israel.  Where the rock armor was supposed to protect the people from the sea, the Israeli army launched bombs from their boats and onto the beach.  So, despite the rather successful defense from the sea that the coastal management efforts provide, they do not have successful anti-warfare coastal protection.  Image’s A and B clearly show this.  The coastal management techniques are visible, but so is the devastation the area has suffered.  In Image A, there are large desolate gaps where buildings could not be built.  Every building is clearly made very cheaply, as they do not appear refined at all.  A lot of this is because of both the literal fence Israel built to keep Muslims out, and the fact that Israel prevents Gaza from getting a large amount of resources.  The flotilla raid of May 31, 2010, is an example of this.  Israel engaged in neo-privateering by assaulting a vessel carrying aid to Palestine.  So, because of Israel’s war tactics against Gaza Strip, the coastal management efforts have been made worthless.

 

 

DBQ

Posted: April 12, 2011 in Social Studies 10

Narrative:

On February 15, 2011, what seemingly began as an offshoot of the successful Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, thousands of democratic protestors lined the streets of Libya.  Amid pressures to resign, stubborn Libyan “revolutionary leader and guide” Muammar al-Gaddafi ordered troops to fire on the protestors.  The protestors quickly gathered weapons, so Gaddafi’s forces were no longer attacking innocent civilians; they were fighting a war against rebel forces.  The conflict soon escalated to the point of a full civil war, with the rebels based in Benghazi fighting against the ultimately the Arab League called for a no-fly zone over Libya.  The Coalition Forces (United States, United Kingdom, and France) engaged in airstrikes against Libyan forces, with France being one of Gaddafi’s most outspoken opponents.

The Arab League condemned the airstrikes, as it deemed them to be illegal.  Under the UN resolution calling for action against Libya’s government, the airstrikes may indeed have been illegal.  At this point in the civil war, neither side has a clear advantage.  In the early days it seemed like the rebels would have an overwhelming victory over Gaddafi, however the government struck back much harder, and regained much of the lost territory.  In more recent news, Gaddafi attempted to follow the peace deal proposed by the African Union, however the rebels struck down the deal in favor of more bloodshed.  The civil war is currently at a stalemate, and only time will tell who wins the battle for Libya.

Sources:

Source A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEq-n6ciuxc

From 2:05 – 2:45,  4:20 – 4:41,  and 9:00 – 10:30

Source B

http://feb17.info/general/cnn-interview-with-libyan-national-transitional-council-leader-mustafa-abdul-jalil/

whole video

Source C:

Concern over the legality of the military action in Libya reignited on Monday as rebel forces surged into the space created by the international bombardment of Colonel Gaddafi’s military.

Philippe Sands QC, professor of international law at University College London, warned that coalition forces were facing a “major problem” to justify their latest strikes on legal grounds and Lord Ashdown, the former high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, said the coalition forces led by Britain, France and the US were facing “a moment of danger” over the legality of their actions. He said “continued support for this looks as though it is leading to support for regime change, which legally is beyond the [United Nations] security council resolution”.

Legal experts said the international coalition may have overstepped what was agreed by the UN resolution sanctioning military action to “take all necessary measures … to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack”.

Professor Nicholas Grief, director of legal studies at the University of Kent, said it was possible there could be an attempt to bring the matter before the international court of justice. Others said the coalition forces were within the bounds of legality and could continue to attack Gaddafi’s military positions as long as they posed any future threat to civilian populations.

Concern grew as Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said he believed the military action was in breach of international law. “We consider that intervention by the coalition in what is essentially an internal civil war is not sanctioned by the UN security council resolution,” he said. Russia abstained from the vote which resulted in resolution 1973.

Britain said the strikes remained legal. “The UN resolution’s point of ensuring that civilians could be protected allows the international coalition to take action against those who are threatening civilians,” said Alistair Burt, Foreign Office minister. “The Gaddafi forces have been threatening civilians through the advance of their military machine. In order for that threat to be lifted, action has been taken as we have seen. It is very important for us and for everyone that what has been done is under the terms of the UN resolution.”

But Sands said it was becoming increasingly hard to justify the strikes on the Libyan leader’s forces as pre-emptive.

“The resolution is concerned with the protection of civilians, so a military attack on Gaddafi’s retreating forces could only be justified if it could be shown to be related to that objective,” he said.

“It is difficult in international law to argue for a pre-emptive use of force to protect civilians from a possible threat that might arise in the future. We don’t know if there is evidence to show that a failure to attack Ghadaffi’s forces would lead to a regrouping that would lead in turn to attacks on civilians. Pre-emption is a major problem because it is seen as a slippery slope, and rightly so.”

His concern was echoed by Grief, who said the latest strikes provided evidence the coalition had taken sides and “may have gone beyond the terms of the resolution” which he said must be interpreted narrowly, under international law. “It is almost as if we have entered the fray openly on behalf of the rebels. We have taken sides, Paradoxically, there is a UN arms embargo in place but raiding Sirte is even better for the rebels than if we were arming them.” he said.

He said the most recent actions seemed different from the initial attacks around Benghazi, where a stronger argument could be made that action was immediately necessary to protect civilians in support of the resolution.

“I am not sure the latest strikes are in the same category. That is why I am concerned we are going beyond the terms of the security council resolution.”

He said the only way the coalition could be restrained in the immediate future was if the security council adopted a fresh resolution, but he said that was very unlikely given the permanent membership of the council by the leading members of the military coalition. “There could be an attempt to bring the matter before the international court of justice, but it is very difficult to see that happening.”

But Malcolm Shaw QC, senior fellow at Cambridge University’s Lauterpacht centre for international law, argued the coalition forces were still operating within the bounds of legality.

“We are into elastic now, and how far can you stretch the resolution?” he said. “Where you have concentrations of Libyan troops who still pose a credible threat to civilians or civilian population areas then I think there is still cover for action against military objectives,” he said. “It would be difficult to say that if there are tanks outside Sirte that they are no longer a threat to places further up the road at Ajdabiya or Benghazi. If the rebels were hit and scattered then Gaddafi’s tanks could go in.

“When the Russians say you can’t intervene in civil war to assist the rebel side they are right, because that is international law . But the security council resolution trumps that. The resolution does not say protect civilians from attack, but protect them from the threat of attack, so as long as the Libyan government maintains a fighting force and is maintaining a forcible stance then those forces are legitimate targets. The authorisation to use force is clear-cut. The question is how far you go. The answer for me is far down the line.”

Who is in charge?

Who is running the military operation?

Officially Nato has taken over all military operations. But at the moment it is only running the naval blockade, which is enforcing the arms embargo, and the no-fly zone. The Nato commander, Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, will assume control of the most controversial operations, the air strikes against Gaddafi’s ground forces, in a few days’ time.

Why is there a delay in Nato taking over air strikes?

Bouchard said that the handover would take some days because it was “complex”. The delay gives more time to the existing coalition, co-ordinated by the US but led by the French and British, to continue to choose their own targets for bombing.

Will the handover to Nato control make any difference?

Nato’s 28-member countries agreed rules of engagement for air strikes on Sunday. As sceptics like Turkey and Germany were involved in the draft, the rules are likely to be more restrictive that those being used by the French and the British, who have been bombing Libyan government forces across the country.

Source D:

The Arab League asked the United Nations Security Council on Saturday to impose a no-flight zone over Libya in hopes of halting Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s attacks on his own people, providing the rebels a tincture of hope even as they were driven back from a long stretch of road and towns they had captured in the three-week war.

The extraordinary move by the 22-nation bloc — an extremely rare invitation for Western military forces on Arab territory — increases the pressure on the Obama administration, which has been reluctant to intervene in a war that could turn out to be prolonged and complex.

However, by inviting the West to take such action, it also clears the way for the United States and Europe to press for a strong Security Council resolution and to counter the objections of China and Russia, which traditionally oppose foreign intervention in a country’s internal disputes.

But the United States has not said whether it would pursue a resolution, and it was far from clear that, even if action were forthcoming, it would be enough to stall the march of Colonel Qaddafi’s troops eastward. As the rebels withdrew from the strategic oil town of Ras Lanuf 100 miles east to Brega, and by nightfall on to Ajdabiya, superior government forces pressed their advantage on an insurgency that began as a disparate protest movement and, despite efforts to build a government and an army, remained chaotic, splintered and largely leaderless.

The government sweep intensified pleas from the rebels for Western military support. Abdul Hafidh Ghoga, the vice chairman of the rebels’ shadow government, the Libyan National Council, said a no-flight zone would give the rebels a fighting chance against Colonel Qaddafi’s better organized and better equipped military.

“We feel we have the right to ask for help,” he said in the rebel’s eastern stronghold of Benghazi, Libya, where a cheer went up when the Arab League vote was announced. “If the international community chooses to play the role of bystander, we will have to defend ourselves.”

Even if the Security Council authorized the measure, American officials have said it would be warranted only if it appeared that Colonel Qaddafi’s forces were effectively relying on warplanes. A no-flight zone, they have said, would have little effect against helicopters or artillery, both of which the Libyan government has used extensively.

The White House, in a statement on Saturday, said it welcomed the Arab League decision, “which strengthens the international pressure on Qaddafi and support for the Libyan people.” But the statement did not mention a no-flight zone.

The defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, has largely dismissed such a zone as ineffective and ill-advised. Other administration officials have said that the level of violence in Libya would have to approach the scale of that in Rwanda or Bosnia in the 1990s before the United States would engage militarily.

An effective no-flight zone would require a leading Western role. No one else, with the possible exception of Russia, has the level of military sophistication, firepower and surveillance ability it would take to first disable Libyan air defenses, and then enforce the zone.

American officials also said that the Arab League would have to do more than endorse action — it would have to participate in it, too. “That doesn’t mean they have to fly airplanes,” one official said, “but there is much they can do, from providing airfields to gas and maintenance.”

At the Security Council, a diplomat from one member nation said the Arab League decision was “helpful, but there are quite a lot of reservations around the council table still.”

The objections, including some from Russia and China, have centered on questions about whether the need for a no-flight zone has been demonstrated, and whether it has a strong legal basis and clear regional support.

The Arab League action checked one condition off the list, the diplomat said, but the others remain unsettled.

The Europeans have also been divided and have said that Arab League backing was critical to their ultimate decision. The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, was expected in Cairo on Sunday to discuss the no-flight decision with the Arab League.



Section 1:

This interview gives the Libyan “revolutionary leader and guide” Colonel Gaddafi’s point of view in regards to the civil war.  While at the time being discounted as the ranting of a madman, Colonel Gaddafi correctly states in this interview that the rebels are in an informal alliance with the terrorist group al-Qaeda.  At first various news sources ridiculed Gaddafi for making this statement, however rebels whose statements were recorded in articles published by various sources including The Washington Post and The Moscow Times later confirmed this fact.  While Gaddafi is constantly criticized by the world media for his handling of the protests, according to his analysis of the situation, his men were protecting themselves from terrorist attacks.  While this may seem far-fetched, so have many things Gaddafi has said that were later proven to be accurate.

The interview with Mustafa Abdul Jalil was very enlightening about the situation.  Jalil describes the rebel’s willingness to not prosecute Gaddafi if he steps down within 72 hours.  Jalil stresses the importance of democracy by stating that he would rather have all citizens of Libya dead than under the rule of Colonel Gaddafi.  He called for western nations to help in the struggle, and for a no-fly zone to be implemented.  These requests were later met by NATO after the interview.

Section 2:

Source A and source B agree on very little.  They are from the leaders of two different governments who are currently engaged in a war.  Gaddafi is claiming that Jalil is a terrorist, or at least supporting terrorists, while Jalil is calling Gaddafi a tyrannical dictator.  Both claims come with some truth, and some points that can be debated.  Jalil’s affiliation with terrorism for example, while his soldiers are currently fighting alongside al-Qaeda fighters, is very unlikely that he actually believes in the ideology of the terrorist organization.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, Gaddafi’s dictatorship is not a point of debate, it’s a simple fact that the man has been an autocrat for the past 42 years, however his tyranny is disputable.  Before the protests began he was hailed by the United Nations as a champion for human rights.  Gaddafi is a firm opposer of Islamic fundamentalism and within his Green Book he coherently details his belief that the people of his nation should rule themselves, rather than a parliament or republic rule.  Unfortunately for Gaddafi’s supporters, recent events have irreparably tarnished his image.  Unfortunately for the people of Libya, neither Gaddafi or Jalil is willing to make compromises.  In recent events, Gaddafi supported a peace deal drafted by the African Union, however the rebels denied it, as it did not call for Gaddafi’s removal from office.  Likewise, the rebels have offered peace to the government of Tripoli, but Gaddafi rejected it as it called for him leaving his post, and likely his execution by the rebels.  Because the men behind sources A and B are unwilling to find similarities between themselves, there will unlikely be a peaceful resolution to the problem, and the war will end when one side is victorious.

Section 3:

Source C came from a British newspaper, and it features a discussion with an American law professor, as he discusses world laws.  The purpose of this article was to inform the readers about the coalition bombings of Libya, and their legal status.  Another purpose was to possibly hold a criticism on the attacks, and potentially claim that they were unnecessary.  There are not many limitations with this article.  It really was an exceptional source.  However, as a secondary source, there are a very small number of limitations that it must deal with.  None of the featured individuals had actually been to Libya during the crisis and none of them were official United Nations lawyers.  That’s as far as the limitations go, and this source has a much larger amount of strengths than weaknesses.

Source D came from the highly respected newspaper The New York Times.  It seems to have the purpose of describing world events to the readers.  In this case, the Arab League’s endorsement of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya.  Hillary Clinton described this endorsement as “a real game-changer”.  This article also has few limitations, and its limitations are the same as source C’s.  The author was not present at the Arab League’s meeting, and therefore is only a secondary source.

Part 4:

What are the regional ramifications of the ongoing Libyan civil war?

The war between Colonel Gaddafi’s forces and the democratic rebels is currently at a stalemate, with both sides claiming small victories almost daily.  Gaddafi recently captured one of the rebels strongholds, however they still retain control of Benghazi and the involvement of NATO will certainly change the tide of the battle.  One of the immediate effects of the conflict on the surrounding areas is the large diasporas of refugees fleeing to neighboring – and recently liberated – Tunisia.  This will likely cause strain on the weak Tunisian economy and their fledgling government will be forced to deal with the issue in due time.  Other ramifications that are present, though not quite as direct as the previously mentioned effect, is a shift in power in regards to the energy sector.  The Russian Federation failed to veto any of the UN resolutions dealing with Libya, and it’s been speculated that this is because they are enjoying a massive increase in revenue for their energy dealings with European customers who are unwilling to buy from Libya.  Should the rebels win the civil war the African Union’s unity will be challenged with their founding member and long-time ally being removed from power.  A gloomy possibility of a Libya under fundamentalist rule will persist until either Gaddafi solidifies his power once more, or the vast majority of democratic rebels cease relations with the terrorist groups.  If Gaddafi regains control of Libya, the morale of protesters in nations such as Bahrain and Yemen will take a crushing blow, as will the morale of the rogue state Iran, which has been supporting the majority of these revolutions. Libya’s diplomacy with other nations in the region, as well as globally, will be heavily influenced by the victors of the civil war.  Gaddafi’s alliances with Russia and China will be secured, and his relationship with the United States of America will be far from cordial, although he has expressed a fondness of President Barack Obama.  Nations that Libya will lose some of its formerly amiable relations with include Tunisia, Egypt, and Iran.  If the rebels take Libya over then their alliance with democratic nations will improve drastically, although they are growing discontent for the nations in NATO.  Their fellow revolutionary states of the Middle East and the United  Nations will most likely support them heavily in the nation building process.  No matter which side wins however, it will take time for Libya to regain its status as the most desirable African nation to live in that it first developed under the leadership of Colonel Gaddafi.

Linking activities.

Posted: January 25, 2011 in Social Studies 10

The Inn activity and the Sugar activity introduced the class to some economic concepts that we had previously heard of, though were unable to truly grasp the idea.  For the Inn activity, by placing the students in charge of their own basic economic plans and advertising campaigns, we were able to really gain a basic understanding of how corporations manage.  In the Sugar activity, we were taught the importance of specific markets, and how they’re all interwoven.

In the Inn activity and the Sugar activity we began to see the importance of markets.  In the Sugar activity, each scenario featured the effects of the sugar industry on specific markets, ranging from illegal immigrants to marijuana farmers.  We saw that everything is was related and that markets played a huge role in the economy.  A slightly less obvious use of markets was in the Inn activity.  In the Inn activity, in order to sell any rooms you would need to know your market.  Then, upon knowing your market, you would need to cleverly craft an advertisement based on what you think that specific demographic would be more receptive to.  In real life, businesses always try to understand their market and adjust in an attempt to maximize profits.

Another  economic concept that we developed further understanding of was competition.  Competition was very evident in the Inn activity, and was alluded to in the Sugar activity.  In the Sugar activity, competition was talked about in several of the cards.  Two of which were the cards about the migrant workers and the marijuana farmers.  In the case of the migrant workers, they were traveling to the United States because the competition wasn’t as challenging, as they could work for low wages and there were many jobs.  In the latter,  the farmers switched crops because marijuana was able to produce greater profits than sugar.  This was because of competition resulting in lower sugar demand and higher marijuana demand.  The Inn activity was designed to show us competition to a great degree.  Each company had to create a meal plan that would be desirable enough that people would be willing to pay the price for it.  At this point, the companies would create advertisement to sway public tastes towards them.  The company that was most successful at competing against the others would emerge victorious with great profits.

The final concept was self-interest.  Self-interest is one of the defining traits of all economics.  It drives supply & demand, incentives, and trades.  Self-interest is kept afloat by humanities eternal greed.  Self-interest was evident in the Inn activity for both the producers and the consumers.  In the case of the consumers, they were attempting to find the best quality for the lowest price possible.  Whereas for the producers, they were trying to sell their product to the consumers for the cheapest possible price.  In the Sugar activity, self-interest was seen in every single card.  Generally, each nation was attempting to make the maximum amount of money through their sugar industry as possible, while on the smaller scale, each worker for the sugar industry was trying to earn the most money for their labor.  Self-interest is seen all around us, and I can see it in myself nearly every time I buy something.

Country comparison

Posted: January 24, 2011 in Social Studies 10

In social studies class I conducted research on Ukraine.  Ukraine has a strict command economy that was originally put in place by the USSR when it took over Ukraine.  Ukraine has a very low HDI ranking as well.  Ukraine has suffered tragedy after tragedy throughout the course of history.  Several of these include the Holodomor, the Holocaust,  and various genocides between the different cultures residing in Ukraine.  In relation to the other nations discussed by the class, Ukraine remains in a terrible state.  Perhaps the only nations with worse situations covered in class were Somalia, the Sub-Saharan African nations, and Palestine.  One of the few nations with stricter economic regulations imposed by their governments was China in non-SEZ areas.  A recurring feature of these command economies is the abundant lack of money in the areas effected.  Ukraine was by far the in the worst state economically of the European nations presented by the class, having a GDP per capita of only $6,300, as compared to the approximate $25,000 GDP per capita of Spain, the second lowest GDP per capita of a European country covered by the class.  As a result of the command economy, low human development, and general abundance of poverty in Ukraine, even in comparison with other nations, it seems to be in a state where both economic freedom and social development need to take greater priority in order for the nation to advance any further.

Ukraine country report

Posted: December 17, 2010 in Social Studies 10

Here you can find my country report on Ukraine.    Working on it really opened my eyes to the desperate economies of eastern Europe.  I hope you find it interesting.

Market Interaction

Posted: December 6, 2010 in Social Studies 10

Market interaction was a topic that our class learned about in depth.  In class we learned about the various market interactions dealing with sugar.  We were then sent to find article discussing it.  I found an article dealing with Chinese millionaires purchasing private jets.

The article discusses that as the industrialization of China continues, the market for airplanes is increasing.  This has to do with the Chinese millionaires actually being capable of purchasing airplanes, along with the communist Chinese government becoming more capitalist.  Due to these two factors, more and more people are buying their own private planes.  The article even states that there are waiting lists in China, so it would appear that they have reached a point of shortage.  A major point that wasn’t discussed in the article was that since many products are created in China, this seems to be creating a cycle of prosperity.  In sharp contrast to the cycle of poverty, the millionaires buying planes are allowing the plane manufacturers to become more prosperous.    As a result, they too will be able to afford planes.  Basically, as a result of the world’s use of China as a major manufacturer, the people of China have been getting richer, and gaining more profits, so they can influence the airplane market.  The markets that interact in this scenario are the industrialized manufacturing market and the private airplane market.    This type of market interaction is the most basic, and least complex that I know of.  And it’s the easiest for the untrained eye, like mine, to spot.

Article Review #2

Posted: October 5, 2010 in Social Studies 10

The article I chose to review was about a large increase in the amount of oil in Iraq’s oil reserves.  This article caught my eye as we had been working on a project that dealt with oil, and I felt that it would be a good way to relate the real world to class.  Connecting class to the real world is something that I feel is extremely important in order to actually understand what is going on.  I find it easier to understand economic concepts if put into a real-world situations than if it’s just written on paper.  The concepts that this article helps clarify are supply & demand and surplus & scarcity.

The increase in the amount of oil in Iraq’s reserves generate huge incentives for nations to form economic relations with the key OPEC member.  Incentives are the motivation that leads to buying products in the markets.  Since oil is a product that has inelastic demand, almost everyone in every developed country requires it, and they’ll need to get it from somewhere.  As Iraq has recently gained $2.27 trillion worth of oil, it will be an prime market for the oil companies to buy their oil from.  It will also give Iraq incentives to seek out relations with other nations.  As Iraq is still recovering from a devastating war they have a very flimsy economy, however, getting huge supplies of oil will generate massive revenue for the oil exporter.  The profits could be used towards building a more sustainable economy.  With the supply of oil as an incentive, Iraq will hopefully forge strong economic relations worldwide.

The fact that the Iraqi oil reserves have received this massive boost in quantity gives rise to a circumstance where a surplus could be taken into consideration.  The result of a surplus would be a lowering of the prices, in order to attempt to sell the product.  The fact that the product in consideration is oil, a surplus is very unlikely to occur, unless humans move on to less oil related forms of energy.  What can occur now though is a scarcity.  With oil a scarcity is often times discussed and is one of the reasons why its price has spiked so high in recent years.  Scarcity can deal directly with supply and demand in this situation, because the supply is lowered while the demand remains the same.  As a result, the price inflates.  Surplus and scarcity are two driving factors in the price of oil in the market today.

The reason why these economic concepts were chosen was simple, I felt that they were the factors most commonly attributed to oil in the world economy today.  Incentives and surplus are words that I hear on CNN and BBC News every day when it comes to the economy, and I could see a real connection to the article.  Surplus and scarcity were topics that I felt confident about in my understanding.  I could also see a very obvious way in which they would affect oil economically.

To read the original article, click here

Note Taking Method

Posted: September 30, 2010 in Social Studies 10

I am planning on using the Cornell Notes to help make the information stay in my brain.  It helped me last year, and I’m hoping it continues to help me this year.

Invention Convention Reflection

Posted: September 28, 2010 in Social Studies 10

The Invention Convention activity was used to teach us about several different economic principles.  We were taught how to calculate total revenue and profit and loss.  We were taught the roles that producers and consumers play in the marketplace.  And ultimately, we were given a sense of entrepreneurship.  The activity was a small-scale version of real business.  In the activity, our table groups formed companies and we had to create a product.  In my case, we formed Tanish Corp.  and invented the Shuich-It, a multi-purpose weapon of mass destruction.  We then created short sales pitches and attempted to sell our product.  We grossly overestimated the publics reaction to the Shuich-It and failed to sell any, resulting in a loss of $22.50.

We used the final results of the activity to calculate the revenue, and the profit or loss.  To calculate total revenue we multiplied the number of products sold and the price it sold for.  In our case, this resulted in a revenue of 0.  Then, to find whether our product had earned us a profit or lost us money, we subtracted the production cost from our total revenue, and the resulting number was -22.5.  This meant that our loss was a loss of $22.50.

The relationships between producers and consumers in the market fuel the world economy.  It is the producers role in the economy to create products that the consumer would find valuable.  They must market these products and hopefully sell them.  Once the consumer pays to buy that product, then the money is used to produce more and create a larger profit.  The consumer likely earned the money used for buying the product by selling goods or services to another consumer.  It is exchanges like this that keep the economy healthy and strong.  In the 2008 financial crisis, one of the factors leading up to the global recession was a lack of people buying goods, and that’s the reason people were given stimulus checks.  It’s the duty of consumers to take it upon themselves to keep the economy healthy.

As entrepreneurs in this activity, we created a product and put at ourselves at risk for either financial gain or loss.  This gave us a sense of the risks occurring every day, all over the world.  In my groups experience, we were met with a financial disaster, but in groups such as the group that produced the Bikkuri, they discovered the amazing benefits entrepreneurship can bring.  The reasons why the successful groups were successful were cheap production costs and an effective design.  My groups design was not nearly as effective at what it advertised to be, and it cost a lot to make, creating a poor company that was unlikely to sell its product.  If I were to redo this project, I would have certainly attempted to lower production costs.